Back in September, we wrote a couple of posts noting that the Liberty Legal Institute, a right-wing Texas law firm, was trying to shut down the “Troopergate” probe involving Sarah Palin in order to protect John McCain’s presidential campaign.
Now, the Anchorage Daily News reports that LLI spent nearly $200,000 on the effort:
New state gift disclosures show it cost Liberty Legal Institute and the two law firms working with it $185,000 to represent six Alaska legislators in an unsuccessful lawsuit to halt their colleagues’ “troopergate” investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin acted improperly in firing the state’s public safety director.
The legislators listed a $25,000 gift of services from the Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute. Liberty is the legal arm of the Free Market Foundation, which is associated with evangelical leader James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, and lists its guiding principles as limited government and promotion of Judeo-Christian values.
The lawmakers also disclosed a $120,000 gift of services from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, a national firm that appeared at hearings on behalf of Liberty Legal.
Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson represented the six legislators in the case as well, and turned to Liberty Legal for its constitutional expertise. The lawmakers reported a $40,000 gift of services from Clarkson’s firm.
That brings the total bill for their lawsuit to $185,000.
The attorneys had hoped to recoup legal fees in a victory. But the suit was dismissed last fall.
The six legislators who filed the suit are Wes Keller, Mike Kelly, Fred Dyson, Tom Wagoner, Carl Gatto and Bob Lynn. All are Republicans.
And speaking of Liberty Legal, Kelly Shackelford, who heads the organization, was just featured on Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink website warning its readers that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are going to destroy their religious freedom by passing the Freedom of Choice Act, repealing DOMA, the Fairness Doctrine, hate crimes legislation and, most ominously, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act:
It essentially forces a national homosexual-rights law into businesses across the country. The original bill included “transgendered” individuals — in other words, a man who dresses like a woman, who feels like he’s a woman that day. This would affect everything. It would mean your teacher in your child’s school, if they were a male and felt like a female, they could go into the women’s bathroom.
It’s very extreme, but it is very likely to pass, and it has huge implications on religious liberty. There are a lot of Christian businesses that try to follow their beliefs and morality, and it would be the federal government forcing their view of morality on everybody and it would trump religious freedom.
It’s not just Christian businesses; it would even do it to nonprofit organizations. It would even affect, depending upon the exemption, church schools. So you can see how invidious this could be because it really is a direct attack on religious freedom.
While we understand Shackelford’s fear-mongering on these issues – it is LLI’s core mission, after all – we have yet to see a convincing explanation of how this mission was furthered by having this right-wing Texas organization drop a couple of hundred thousand dollars defending Republican legislators in Alaska in order to protect Sarah Palin.